Monday, November 9, 2015

Relax, Moms - It's Not About You



Last night I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. The house was quiet. The kids were asleep. The husband was snoring. Something didn’t feel right. Something felt undone, inadequate. Goals were left unmet for the day. My checklists were missing checks. I could feel it. I started to review the day. Did I spend enough quality time with the kids? Did I accomplish enough? Did I prioritize everything correctly? Did I address all of my kids’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs? It was a tangled mess of restless thoughts, looking for a specific anxiety to land on. And there was a common thread: I, I, I, me, me, me. 


Suddenly a hush came over my heart. It was as warm and relaxing as the new electric blanket my husband just bought me that I was clutching under my chin. It was a wave of calm that came on this thought:

“It’s not about you.” 

I instantly relaxed. It wasn’t that I could suddenly prove my checklist was complete (because it wasn’t). It wasn’t that I was convinced I had parented perfectly (because I hadn’t). It wasn’t even that I had an answer for every anxious thought I could dream up. It was simply that “I” wasn’t important. “I” wasn’t worth thinking about. 

I just finished reading Tim Keller’s “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.” It was laying on my nightstand just inches from my face. In it he makes a profound statement: 

“The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.” 

Moms, the irony of constantly evaluating our performance is that it leads us deeper into a spiral of self-focus and further from the freedom Christ purchased for us. Gospel-freedom means we don’t have connect every experience to ourselves. We connect each one to Christ. Where do I see His perfect control in the midst of a chaotic kitchen? Where do I see His compassion and peace when my kids are fighting? How can my shortcomings shed fresh light on His perfect righteousness?

In church this week I was momentarily drawn into the sermon and away from the squirming toddler shedding string cheese all over my lap. The pastor was talking about one of my favorites: Psalm 23 (the “Shepherd Psalm”). My tendency, without even realizing it, has always been to see “me” in this passage. The pastor showed that there are two ways to read it: 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

OR:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Isn’t it so like us to read it the first way? To only see ourselves? If we read scripture like the first example, we will get burned out. Every page will constantly show us our failures while giving us new, unattainable marching orders for the day. But the comfort of the gospel is that every page points us the Christ. He is the fulfillment of every requirement and the only source of meaning in our lives. 

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. What is the “it”? The Bible. Motherhood. Your marriage. Your job. Your serving. Your obedience. It’s ALL about Him. 

My whole day might have looked like a jumbled pile of potty-training mishaps, never-ending meal prep, and a scale constantly tipping back and forth between my definitions of “failure” and “success.” But that’s not an accurate representation of the day. The day was a perfectly ordained gift from God that existed for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory. And it did. Because it was about Him. 

“For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things.” (Romans 11:36)


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Photo credit: http://youqueen.com/life/what-to-do-when-you-get-fired/

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